Donum 2008 West Slope Carneros Pinot Noir, a stunning mix of fruit, spice and finish, the wine rides the tongue delicately yet deliciously all the way to the finish. (**** 1/2).
As for the Gala tasting itself, over 65 wines were poured and the ones I will tell you about here ranged from very good to excellent. The rating scale is in stars and they equal as follows: 3 1/2 (good), 4 (very good), 4 1/2 (excellent) and 5 (outstanding). The wines are presented here in booklet tasting order (as they appear in the informational booklet handed out) ...
Pongracz Sparkling ($18.95 - South Africa) - clean and fresh with a hint of that South African terroir which gives this wine a pleasant toasty flavour instead of that funky tarry-earthy note. (*** 1/2+)
Osborne Pedro Ximinez 1827 Sherry ($17.20 - Spain) - my sweet tooth kicked in here with its lovely toffee and raisin pie notes; sweet, thick and sinful. (****+)
Offley Colheita 1997 Port ($35.00 - Portugal) - cherries and spice load up the nose, long candied-mandarin-orange finish ... yum (****+)
Georg Breuer 2008 Terra Montosa ($29.95 - Germany) - stony and sweet all at the same time: green apple, lime and peach fruit mingle nicely together. (*** 1/2+)
Nugan Estate 2009 Manuka Grove Durif ($29.95 - Australia) - sweet plum palate with a raspberry fruit finish (*** 1/2+)
Korta 2009 Gran Reserva Petit Verdot ($26.95 - Chile) - good fruit with a hint of spice and a nice finish. (****)
Sokol Blosser Estate 2008 Pinot Noir ($65.00 - Oregon, USA) - nose of vanilla bean, coffee and spice; the palate is the real winner here combining earthy notes with the vanilla, coffee and some spiced-cranberry. (****)
Tianna Negre Ses Nines Tinto 2010 ($24.95 - Spain) - lovely red fruit, sweet cherry, red licorice, plum and red berries; sweet red fruit finish. (****+)
Norton 2005 Predriel Single Vineayard ($69.95 - Argentina) - blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvigon and Merlot with black cherry, chocolate, black plum, cocoa/mocha notes and a nice, slightly herbed finish. (****+)
Villa Maria 2007 Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir ($59.95 - New Zealand) - cran-cherry with delicious spice, real finesse of red fruit on the finish with a touch of cinnamon spice. (****+)
Montrouge Gogondas "La Petit Colline" 2009 ($34.95 - France) - spiced raspberry with nice red fruit, mineral and slight hit of tobacco. (*** 1/2+)
Moncaro 2010 Le Vele Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico ($13.95 - Italy) - a stunningly delicious white wine loaded with lovely tropical fruit along with pear and lime; best white wine of the day. (****+)
Nugan Estate 2008 McLaren Vale Parish Vineyard Shiraz ($24.95 - Australia) - cherry, plum with big fruit burst on the nose with each subsequent swirl of the glass; mouth also had a fruit explosion with a lovely red fruit finish along with lovely mouth-filling hints of chocolate. (****)
Allianca Quinta Dos Quatro Reserva ($59.95 - Portugal) - sweet cherry and plum on the nose, spiced-plum with a hefty tannin finish. (****+)
Villa Maria 2010 Taylor's Pass Sauvignon Blanc ($34.95 - New Zealand) - lovely sweet fruit reminiscent of grapefruit cocktail. (*** 1/2+)
Finally, Innis & Gunn poured three beers that really impressed, one specially brewed for Canada Day 2011 ... the other two:
- Original Oak Aged Beer
- Rum Cask Aged Beer
all three available at the LCBO, the Canada Day beer is a limited edition that will be available soon.